Once a powerful medieval Kingdom and Empire, the modern state of Serbia emerged in 1817 following the Second Serbian Uprising. After the end of World War II Serbia became a federal unit within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Following the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Serbia once again became an independent state in 2006 when Montenegro declared independence from the then state union of Serbia and Montenegro.
The EU and Serbia signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) in April 2008. EU Member States decided to start the ratification process of the SAA in June 2010, following the latest report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Serbia's cooperation with the tribunal. Full cooperation with the ICTY remains an essential element of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
Serbia applied for EU membership in December 2009.
Serbia receives EU financial assistance and during 2007-2012 Serbia will benefit from 976.8 million euros. Focus areas for financial assistance include political requirements covering, inter alia, democratic institutions, public administration reform, rule of law, reform of the judiciary, fight against corruption, human rights and protection of minorities. On-going assistance under the Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation (CARDS) programme amounts to some 311.8 million euros and involves over 100 projects.